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Clothes Dryer Heated By Home Furnace

Duct heat from furnace to dryer. Lose the dryer's heating element.
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My electric clothes dryer is on the fritz. It is tumbling but not heating. There's a heating duct from my gas furnace a few feet in front of it, so I shoved the dryer over the duct. Now there is hot air blowing up into the dryer whenever the furnace kicks on (which is often on this wintry day). It seems to be helping the clothes dry before they mildew.

It occurs to me that a formal, permanent arrangement like that would keep me from having to buy a new heating element.

I propose that a branch of a home furnace (gas or electric) ductwork be dedicated to a heaterless clothes dryer. The rest of the house's duct-work would need a shut-off flap for summer use, of course. The dryer's duct could have a shut-off flapper so the dryer isn't getting heated all the time the furnace is running, if desired.

An advantage to this arrangement is that the dryer would be a lot cheaper without a heater. A disadvantage is that the average home furnace is about twice as powerful as a clothes dryer, but that can be dealt with, either by making the dryer drum bigger or altering the drying cycle.

An advantage for the house is that the furnace will be run periodically over the summer, instead of sitting--this also helps with recovering the cost of the furnace sooner. Of course, that means the furnace gets more use, but the dryer's heater won't be getting used, and won't even exist.

Of course, it also means I could be spending this day with a broken heater AND dryer, if the furnace quit. I wouldn't be able to heat the house with the dryer--I'd have to use the gas stove.

baconbrain, Dec 12 2010

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